In short:

Natasha Stott Despoja has begun her role as domestic, family violence and sexual violence royal commissioner.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said there were about 12,500 domestic and family violence offences in South Australia in the 12 months to April.

What’s next?

The commission is seeking submissions from all sections of the community and will hand down its findings in July 2025.

South Australia’s new domestic violence royal commissioner has called for victim-survivors to share their experiences with the newly established inquiry in her first day on the role.  

Former senator Natasha Stott Despoja will head the Royal Commission into Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, which begins today.

The royal commission will examine prevention, early intervention, response, recovery and healing, and has until July 2025 to present its findings. 

Ms Stott Despoja said the commission wanted to hear from all sections of the community including Aboriginal people and culturally diverse communities.

She said the inquiry will be “intersectional” and listen to advice, suggestions or ideas to ensure the domestic violence system works for victim-survivors.

“My message to victim-survivors is please talk to the commission but only do so if you are comfortable, if you want us to hear your ideas, your experience and your recommendations for change,” Ms Stott Despoja said.

“The reality is the single biggest risk factor for being a victim of domestic, family or sexual violence in Australia today is being female.

“For me, the high rates of violence against Aboriginal women are our nation’s shame, our particular shame.”

The state government announced plans for an inquiry in December last year, following the deaths of six South Australians from alleged family and domestic violence.

The royal commission will begin accepting written submissions through its website on Friday and launch a ‘Share with us’ portal in September for victim-survivors. 

It will speak to sector representatives, survivors, children and young people, experts, non-government experts and private sector organisations.

‘Everything is on the table’

Premier Peter Malinauskas said there were about 12,500 domestic and family violence offences in South Australia in the 12 months to April — accounting for about half of all assaults. 

“That is an astonishing statistic,” Mr Malinauskas said. 

“Three people a week — typically women — are falling victim to homicide in Australia as a result of family and domestic and sexual violence,” he said.

Peter Malinauskas says about half of all assaults in the 12 months to April were domestic violence related.(ABC News: Ashlin Blieschke)

“Victim-survivors have an important role to play in informing the government’s response to the royal commission and the royal commission itself.”

Ms Stott Despoja said “everything is on the table”.

“Women are dying, children are not only being injured or killed, we know that trauma has a long tail so we have to address this,” she said.

“We’re going to look at where the gaps are, find out what the challenges are, and also look at what is working well, including the prevention space, the response area, early intervention and indeed, healing.”

Women and the Prevention of Domestic Violence Minister Katrine Hildyard said the commission would explore measures to prevent violence before it starts.

“It gives us an opportunity to examine how we can best prevent violence before it starts, how we can intervene early with those that perpetrate violence, how we can best respond to those who experience violence and walk alongside them as they recover and heal,” she said. 

“I absolutely encourage everybody … to contemplate the commission and to contemplate the role that they can play as our state takes this step forward.”

Posted , updated